It’s no secret that Book Passage has some really amazing food and wine events. Marguerita Castenera, Director of Cooks with Books, does an incredible job of lining up not only the latest and most cutting edge chefs in the culinary world but also the ones who influenced the genesis of the modern day chef-centric food scene. This past season is a perfect example of the spectrum of events Book Passage hosts through the Cooks with Book, Books and Bites, and Dining with Writers series.
Highlights of this past fall season included the following events:
First and only female Iron Chef Cat Cora’s Dining with Writers Spinster Sisters event for her raw and powerful memoir Cooking as Fast as I Can. Cat is part southern sweetheart and part bad ass, and she daringly shares it all, one of the best foodie memoirs out this year.
Emeril Lagasse brought the power of “Bam” to the Left Bank, charming the crowd with his signature warmth and a trove of his favorite memories and experiences transformed into each recipe in his latest cookbook Essential Emeril.
The inimitable Ruth Reich lured masses to Insalata’s to celebrate her poetic memoir/cookbook My Kitchen Year, a personal ode to her resurrecting moments and meals following the unexpected closure of Gourmet Magazine.
Yotom Ottolenghi, global sweetheart and exceptionally talented chef and restaurateur was back at Insalata’s for his Cook with Books event lauding his latest book NOPI, a celebration of the food of Ottolenghi’s self described “grown-up restaurant” NOPI. Even more fun, Ottolenghi brought along his head chef and co-author Ramael Scully. Scully, as he is known, is a warm and generous chef who wooed Ottolenghi with his masterful grasp on simply, meticulously, cooked food infused with Asian influences. Heidi Krahlig and her crew did an ovation worthy menu for the occasion and she enthusiastically finished the event by proclaiming to the crowd, riffing off local writing legend Anne Lamott, “Yotam Ottolenghi has no shitty first drafts!” Here, here.
Iconic chef Jacques Pépin joined us for a wonderful event at Left Bank to celebrate the publication of his book Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, charming everyone with his easy, elegant ways and lifelong dedication to his craft. Jacques turns 80 this December 18 and his energy and enthusiasm for cooking and life have never been greater. Although he did formally say Heart & Soul in the Kitchen would likely be his last book of this size, and last accompanying PBS series, he did confide that he would like to do a smaller version of something about a grandfather teaching his granddaughter some kitchen essentials. Fans can take comfort that we look forward to these smaller features with his granddaughter, Shorey.
The luminous Nigella Lawson, also at Left Bank, regaled a rapt audience with her latest, and most personal cookbook, Simply Nigella. Showcasing the way she eats now, and what she really loves, the cookbook has dishes for all occasions: quick weeknight meals, impressive dinners for guests, and even a chapter entitled “Bowlfood,” for, as Nigella stated, “those lazy times when even chewing is just too much.”
Not a secret but perhaps not as well known, is just how many fun and informative food and wine events we have in our Corte Madera store. These events, as opposed to our other food events, are generally free to the public and offer an exceptional experience, often with demonstrations and all in a more casual atmosphere. Just this fall, we had Nancy Singleton Hachisu, expert on Japanese food, farming, and preservation; come and talk to us about her latest book Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen. Award winning wine expert and author Karen MacNeil joined us to host a wine tasting and discussion of the latest edition of her book The Wine Bible. It has been completely updated and is every bit as encyclopedic as you would imagine. Perfect for either a layperson or professional, it reflects the increasing global nature of the wine industry. And finally, Louella Hill, AKA the Milkmaid, joined us for a pop up cheese making class and talk about her book Kitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter and Cheese at Home. She brought her pint sized apprentice, her little boy Langston, and regaled the audience with a short history of the past five thousand years of cheese making. She did this while whipping up fresh ricotta cheese which she served her lucky audience with crackers, dates, and homemade blue cheese. Sharing her inspiration and enthusiasm for cheese, she explained how it directly relates to many environmental and social issues and how it is a great path for many in search of a promising hands on career that also makes a difference. Her passion is contagious and her book may be the gateway to many a promising cheese maker.
Book Passage has signed copies of all of these books at our store in Corte Madera, perfect for the Holidays. Come in and browse our vibrant collection of cookbooks sure to please any foodie on your list. Joyous holiday tidings and a wondrous New Year to you and see you at Book Passage.